President Trump surprised American troops in Afghanistan on Thanksgiving after leaving his Florida residence overnight.
He visited Bagram Air Base on Thursday, delivering Thanksgiving greetings to U.S. troops deployed there in America’s longest-running war. This is Trump’s second visit to a combat zone. He previously visited troops in Iraq the day after Christmas in 2018.
In the president’s address to the troops, he announced renewed peace talks between the United States and the Taliban, claiming the Taliban wants “to make a deal.”
“We’ll see if they want to make a deal,” he said. “It’s got to be a real deal, but we’ll see. But they want to make a deal. And they only want to make a deal because you are doing a great job. That is the only reason they want to make a deal. So I want to thank you and I want to thank the Afghan soldiers for — I’ve spoken to a lot of you today and you say they are really fighting hard. I was impressed with that actually. So I want to thank you.”
Trump has long wanted to withdraw from Afghanistan, and his visit coincides with the Afghan government’s engagement in an extended stalemate with the Taliban.
“There is nowhere that I’d rather celebrate this Thanksgiving than right here with the toughest, strongest, best, and bravest warriors on the face of the Earth. You are indeed that,” Trump added.
He continued, “When I took office, if you can believe it almost three years ago, we were very depleted. Our military was depleted in terms of equipment. You see, right? They’re all shaking their heads. We have all those brand new planes and brand new helicopters and brand new ships being built now, brand new powerful submarines.”